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“Team Player” Defined: Example Interview Answers To Behavior-Based Questions About Teamwork

What is teamwork? ... and what does it really mean to be a "team player?" Here are some sample interview questions about teamwork and a formula for delivering answers that will impress them & increase your chances of getting hired.

What I'm trying to help you with is your ability to TALK about your teamwork competencies using examples from your own personal work experience.

What is teamwork?

Some definitions:

  • Encouraging and facilitating cooperation and trust.
  • Fostering team spirit, commitment, and group identity.
  • Working with others to achieve shared goals.

What are the qualities of a true team player?

Other people can count on you.
You can clearly express your ideas in a direct but respectful way.
You listen and try to understand different perspectives. People can give you constructive feedback without you getting defensive.
You show up prepared. You contribute to discussions and activities.
You work with others to get something done, always focusing on the productive solution and outcome as the goal.
You are able to change or adapt when you need to try something new based on the feedback or direction of others.
You give your best effort and you are responsible to the goals of the team.
You treat other people with consideration & courtesy.

Teamwork Interview Questions

"Provide me with a recent example of how you worked outside of your normal routine to accomplish a team goal. Were you challenged to learn a new skill? ... and if so, how did you go about learning it, and how did you apply this skill to help the team project?"

"From past two jobs you've had, can you describe a situation when you were faced with a challenge that at first appeared impossible to accomplish but then was possible when teamwork was applied? ... What methods or strategies did you use to help the team accomplish the goal?"

"Tell me about a time when a teammate of yours was not doing her part. What did you do? ... What was the outcome?"

Example Teamwork Interview Answers

I’m sure you are already familiar with the STAR Statement formula: Situation / Task, Action, Result. What I want to point out to you is a good way to begin your accomplishment statements.

In answering their questions, start by defining who you are and “what you like to do” in certain situations. Try beginning your answers like this:

"I'm the type of person who ______________.  I like to ______________."

"I'm the type of person who will lend a helping hand whenever needed. I like to support my teammates. SO TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION ..."

"I'm the type of person who tries to understand why people might be underperforming, then see what we can do as a team to help them get back up to speed. I like to help other people so we can all be more effective in reaching team goals. FOR EXAMPLE ..."

"I'm the type of manager that keeps team spirit high by offering incentives and surprises. I like to think about things I can do to keep up morale and support group performance. AS A FOR INSTANCE, TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION ..."

Opening your answer with “this is who I am, this is what I like to do” allows you to define yourself for the interviewer. Continue with explaining the situation / task / problem, then explain the outcome or result:

"... So in the end we:

... were able to deliver on time because we worked together as a team."

... decreased the cost of the project by 47% because we leveraged the abilities of the team instead of using a vendor."

... got back on track as a team because of my communication plan for clearly stating the deadlines and the quality standards for deliverables that were ready to ship."

Now here's what you can do to prepare:

— Understand what “teamwork” really is, and memorize the above qualities that make a good team player. These are good words to use in an interview.

— Write down your accomplishment statements related to teamwork, and try starting them with “I’m the type of person who …”

— Practice your STAR Statements! … and if you liked this article or think it will help other people, please be a team player and share it on your social networks! 😎 Thanks. ~ bob

Grab Some Free Resources:

  • Behavioral Interview Questions and Answers Preparation Deck
  • List of Action Words for Answering Behavioral Interview Questions
  • SOARL Story Answer Generator Template
  • Telephone Script For Cold Calling HR

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